Who would roam right field?
May 23, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin (6) shakes hands with Oakland Athletics right fielder Josh Reddick (22) after they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Oakland Athletics defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
There is no question that Reddick has established himself as Oakland’s everyday right-fielder. However, an organization building for the future like the Athletics might pull the trigger if the right deal presents itself. Who can forget the transactions that sent Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox, or Josh Donaldson to the Toronto Blue Jays?
I can’t… sadly.
Hypothetically, who would take Reddick’s spot on the 25-man roster? Let’s assume newly appointed general manager David Forst, perused the 2016 free agent list.
Jason Heyward, STL
This left-hander had an outstanding rookie campaign with the Atlanta Braves in 2010 — recording a .272/.393/.456 slash line in 142 games, with 18 home runs and 72 RBI. Even though Heyward stands at 6’5″, he has a tremendous amount of speed in the outfield, and can cover a substantial amount of ground. After his sophomore slump in 2011, the New Jersey native bounced back the following year posting numbers foreseen out of a video game! His .269 batting average with 27 round-trippers and 82 RBIs in 158 games, made him an intriguing trade chip when the St. Louis Cardinals acquired him in 2015. Heyward will become a free agent after the season, and is expected to have multiple suitors for his services. The right-hander is coming off a two-year contract worth $13,300,000, so I’d imagine a maximum deal of 4/32 or 4/40, which is completely out of the Athletics price range.
Colby Rasmus, HOU
Rasmus is first and foremost a center fielder however I believe the 29-year-old could easily make the transition to right field despite his limited playing time. Ideally, he appears best suited as a platoon hitter with exceptional numbers against righties. Rasmus is more than capable of hitting 20-25 homers a season, with impressive speed and range, but wouldn’t be able to showcase his raw talent if he’s sitting on the bench half of the time. The first-round draft pick in 2005 is making a total of $8,000,000, which leads me to believe the Athletics could make a respectable offer and obtain his services if necessary.
Alex Rios, KC
Rios has been in the show for some time, and it’s not uncommon to see aging stars decline offensive and in the field. He’s capable of hitting 20 home runs, but hasn’t even come close since the 2013 season with 18. The last time the right-hander surpassed this number was in 2012 with the Chicago White Sox (25) — a career best including an average of .304 and 91 RBIs in 157 games. Rios is making $9,500,000 in 2015. Regardless, this value is likely to decline and could be a reasonable “stop-gap” option until Matt Olson climbs the ranks by 2017.
On the squad
Craig Gentry, Sam Fuld, and Jake Smolinski are reasonable options, but in a platoon role. Out of the three, Smolinski has the best chance of having a bounce back performance in 2016. But, in no way will he post the numbers Reddick has done in his four Major League seasons with the Athletics. Instead of hitting, the green and gold would take “a hit” without Reddick’s offensive production in the lineup and presence on the field.
Next: Final Thoughts